Monday, October 26, 2015

Pushing the Edge With Small Field Free flight

Last Sunday was a treat for outdoor activities in Minnesota with very little wind and a high around 60 degrees. I took good advantage of the nice fall weather for model airplane flying at two different flying sites with a variety of model airplanes.  The first flight was with the electric powered Starduster free flight I had repaired after a break in the fuselage. When I launched I thought I was upwind and it would circle around to the right and drift down the field. Under power it went out from the field farther than I thought and when it circled back it appeared to be going to cross a busy road and head for a woods. It did come back and landed on the field, what a relief.  I really wanted to fly it again and launched in a different direction, this time it went too far in the opposite direction heading towards a building but landed short of that in a bush. At this point I thought I pushed my luck far enough.

AMA Maxi Jr

Electric Starduster Coming Back to the Field

I flew a RC glider for a time and chatted with two other guys that were flying RC gliders. In my car I had one of the Fantastic Foam Flyer rubber powered airplanes that I always keep in the car. With more room than I normally have for flying  it I decided to give it a good number of turns in the rubber motor. A nice flight but it looked like it was headed for trees on another border of the field. I moved farther the opposite way and cranked in more turns.  This time it was really getting high and headed over the road again but circled back.  It was getting time to leave and I thought I had pushed my luck pretty far.

Fantastic Foam Flyer

After a quick dinner I decided it was still warm enough and the wind was light; I would fly a couple of balsa and tissue rubber powered free flight models. I started with the AMA Maxi Jr model which flies so well. One of the first flights it had come close to a flat roof building on the field but landed a short distance from it. I changed the direction I was launching from, flight after flight the airplane made nice circles fairly close and landing really close.  

AMA Maxi Jr Evening Flight

Flying Over the Roof

The draw to have the free flight airplane to climb higher and stay up longer was overruling my common sense. I cranked increasingly larger number of turns in the rubber motor, this was really cool to watch. The last flight, not by choice the airplane made a nice circle but then straightened out. It was headed for the trees and there was a pond beyond the trees and that darn building to the left. Just before the trees it started to circle again and went over the building. Could I possibly be lucky enough to dodge another bullet; no my luck had run out.  Now I am hoping for wind before it rains to blow the airplane off the roof.  This might be the end of this story but maybe not.

Good News - AMA Maxi Jr Recovered

It turns out maintenance staff had recovered my airplane before the rain. They had sent me an email which had gone into my Spam folder. About three weeks later I happened to find the email and went back to pick up the airplane. The propeller was missing and a small break in the stab, otherwise the airplane was fine.

Flying Again with Orange Propeller

Bill Kuhl

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